NUI Galway Project Showcases Strong Economic Contributions from the Creative Industries

Dr Aisling Murtagh and Dr Patrick Collins, School of Geography and Archaeology, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway. Photo: Brad Anderson
Apr 23 2018 Posted: 10:54 IST


€486.2 million total direct sales of cultural and creative produce from the west of Ireland in 2016

  • 5,000 companies employ 13,000 people in creative industries in the west of Ireland
  • App, gaming, and new media industries reported double the sales to their craft and cultural counterparts

The School of Geography and Archaeology and the Whitaker Institute in NUI Galway, was part of a recent conference that highlighted key outcomes from the a creative momentum project where analysis of, and supports for the creative sector in the Arts, Crafts, Design, Media and Technology industries, were discussed.

The three year project, led by the Western Development Commission (WDC) sought to shine a light on the important role that culture and creativity can play in the development of some of Europe’s most rural regions. The project team presented resources and toolkits useful to creative entrepreneurs that will help internationalise and develop their business. A panel discussion debated ‘creativity on the periphery’ addressing both the challenges and opportunities linked to working in the creative industries sector in Europe’s Northern Edge.

The NUI Galway team is one of the partner organisations of a creative momentum, where the project was implemented by the School of Geography and Archaeology and the Whitaker Institute. An economic and social impact analysis of the west of Ireland creative sector was carried out as part of the project.

The team found total direct sales of craft, cultural and creative produce amounted to over €486 million in 2016, while average company sales differed across the sub-sectors. Close to 5,000 companies employ nearly 13,000 people in this sector in the west of Ireland. The creative industries (app development, gaming, and new media) reported average sales close to twice that of their craft (artistic/heritage laden goods) and cultural (theatre, music, film) counterparts. The report also identified a range of wider socio-economic contributions from the creative sector in the west of Ireland.

Dr Patrick Collins, lead researcher of the project at NUI Galway, said: “These figures help prove how culture and creativity can be seen as vital resources. Encouragingly, they point to a bright future, but these are often one person operations and micro enterprises that need support and recognition. We also identified how a vibrant creative sector has many impacts beyond the economic, they help build communities and are vital to the identity of the place we live in.”

NUI Galway also developed the ‘Creative Business Model Toolkit’ as part of the project. The Toolkit provides information resources and tools for creative entrepreneurs to better understand how to develop and refine their business model. It explores what a business model is and its importance to creative businesses and draws on real world examples of creative businesses to illustrate issues. The toolkit aims to help creative entrepreneurs build a business that is more sustainable and competitive.

a creative momentum is a three year (2015-2018), €2 million transnational project co-funded by the EU Interreg Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme. The project has focused on the development of the creative industries sector in regions across Europe’s Northern Edge.

To read the full Economic Impact report of the project, visit:

To read the Creative Model Business Toolkit, visit:


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